Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

My puppy Lola has vision problems maybe due to hydrocephalus?

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by polly63, Sep 21, 2013.


  1. polly63

    polly63 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi there,


    I have had my new puppy Lola who I have had for 2 weeks. She is 11 weeks now and is a lovely natured and happy crossbreed, mainly poodle. We needed a dog who would not affect our allergies/asthma and she has been ideal! The love and fun she has brought into our life is amazing!



    One massive problem however is that this may all be cut short due to the vet telling us on Thursday that he thinks she has hydrocephalus. We had already noticed that her vision did not seem right. But she didnt seem to be coping badly and is so happy and bright that we didnt worry too much about it and just waited to see the vet.



    The vision isnt a problem for us as I know it is perfectly possible to cope with a dog with less than perfect eysight and we love her so are prepared to do our very best for her. What is infinitely more worrying is the hydrocephalus as I have terrified myself by searching on the internet. Unfortunately, she does not have insurance as I was waiting for her to be chipped first - I know I've made a major mistake! The vet is going to speak to a neurologist to have it confirmed and Lola will probably need to see them.



    Does anybody out there have anything positive they can tell us about Lola's prognosis? It all seems very pessimistic with the vet saying that she may not live beyond 4 months although he cannot be sure. The only thing I can say is that you would never think there was anything wrong with her (apart from her not looking right at you and bumping into things a little) and she is so very happy and healthy in every other way.



    Any information and advice would be gratefully received.



    Thanks
     
  2. polly63

    polly63 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I assume that this is quite rare and not many people have experience. I have searched the forums and there was someone with experience of this earlier in the year. Her experience is very sad and tells me that there is not much hope.
     
  3. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    39,822
    Likes Received:
    10,365
    Although I cant promise it isn't, one thing at the moment is the vet only thinks it can be Hydrocephalus which is the collection of an abnormal amount to fluid around the brain.

    Although its true that in a proportion of dogs they may not exhibit any symptoms it seems the greater proportion do. None of which she seems to have from what you say.

    Clinical Signs
    •Lethargy

    •Seizures

    •Developmental delay / slow learning

    •Lack of coordination

    •Eyes fixed downward

    •Change in personality / irritability

    •Domed skull

    •Vomiting

    Second point I would imagine especially if there is a lack of symptoms you often see, is that diagnosis can only be done by a CT scan, MRI scan or in some cases ultrasound none of which she has had yet, and its only that the vet thinks it may be that with no other classical clinical signs it may not be.

    Diagnostics
    •The Veterinary Neurologist will evaluate physical, behavioral, and neurological abnormalities to make a preliminary diagnosis.
    •A diagnosis of hydrocephalus can be confirmed with Computed Tomography (CT scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or, in some cases, Ultrasonography.
    •See the MRI (photo right) which demonstrates dilation of the ventricles of the brain (arrow points to the left ventricle)

    Also the causes of hydrocephalus can be due to a number of reasons, at the moment you don't know for sure if it is this, and/or also should it be what the cause is. The prognosis also comes down to, the cause if it is hydrocephalus and also the severity of it if it is that.



    Prognosis
    •In severe cases of congenital hydrocephalus, puppies often die early.

    •In less severe cases, signs may gradually become worse. Often, these puppies will stabilize with treatment.

    •Sometimes, dogs with hydrocephalus may show no clinical signs at all.
    • Affected animals are susceptible to other medical problems and may have a poor tolerance to various drugs.

    •Even with treatment, some animals may have residual neurological damage.

    •To minimize damage, start treatment early.

    Again depending on the cause and severity there is possib le treatment options in some cases, either medical theraphy wise or sometimes surgical to put in a shunt to re-direct the build up of fluid elsewhere. I don't know of any dogs with a shut but I do know of a human baby who had it, and he is now a normal, older toddler who has progressed normally.

    Treatment
    •The goal of treatment is to re-establish the balance of production and absorption of the CSF in the brain.

    •Corticosteroids are used with a tapering dose to reduce the production of CSF in the brain. Usually this treatment has to be repeated.

    •In some cases surgical placement of a shunt is required. This would divert the excess CSF to a different place in the body to be reabsorbed.

    From her breed point of view as you say she is mostly poodle but don't say what type, in the miniature poodle Hydrocephalus is known, so it could be a possible, but at the same time you also haven't had a firm diagnosis.

    As regards to her loss, or seemingly lack of sight vision. Again if she is mostly miniature poodle (Havent checked on the other sizes of poodle) They do have congenital/Hereditary eye diseases in the breed. There is Progressive retinal
    atrophy (prcd-PRA) which causes gradual loss of sight. There is also something eye wise called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia in which the optic nerve from the eye to the brain is too small.

    The Optic Nerve hypoplasia, on a quick look puppies can actually be born blind or sometimes partially sighted depending on the severity of the problem, so maybe that could explain her sigh problems.

    Ive also looked up for you age of onset for Progressive retinal atrophy which appears to be something that progresses, and can be anything from early onset with rapid progression to much later onset in the older dog with slower progression and a variety of anything inbetween. Often first signs seem to be more night blindness where the dog becomes more unhesitant or unsure in dim light rather then full daylight, but as it progresses causes more loss of sight.

    As said I haven't explored what eye diseases are known in the other sizes of poodle but these are known for sure in the Minature as is hydrocephalus unfortunately.

    The information on Hydrocephalus is from a reputable source a veterinary specialist website, for further information from that site see link.
    Michigan Veterinary Specialists - Hydrocephalus

    As said I cant promise you it isn't hydrocephalus, at the moment without proper diagnosis there is no way to say it is or isn't, especially if there is a lack of clinical symptoms which can sometimes happen in some dogs. There is however it seems possible other explanations that may be causing impaired sight. Even if it may be hydrocephalus until you know the cause and severity again no one can say, but in some instances is there is treatment options.

    I am so sorry what you are going through it must be hell at the moment, I hope you do get to the bottom of it quickly though and she can be helped.
     
  4. polly63

    polly63 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much for your detailed and considered post. Some of what you highlight I have already looked at but you put it so well that I am starting to have a little more hope. She is mosly toy poodle with some Irish jack russell terrier.

    On the negative front though - Firstly, unfortunately, the vet's preliminary diagnosis is based on Lola's apparent 'dome shaped head'. The second is her vision, she does not look up to you but always at your feet or straight ahead - so she is downward looking I suppose.

    On the positive front - she really is a bright happy puppy. She has been sitting straight to attention for a treat since she was 8 weeks and has been very good for her age in terms of house training her. She is all there upstairs I think.

    We will just have to wait and see what the vet says after speaking with the neurologist specialist. Unfortunately, we were not insured in time due to a misunderstanding :( so we will pay to see the vet neurologist but cannot possibly afford upwards of £1,000 for an MRI. Hopefully, it will be more clear after seeing a specialist.

    Once again, thanks for your time.
     
  5. polly63

    polly63 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just an update - After another visit to the vet today we have found that Lola's fontanelle has closed so an ultrasound was out of the question to see the extent of any hydrocephalus.

    However, on examination the vet thought her head was less domed and so now the vet is thinking that she may have had some kind of virus before birth which has damaged her brain/optical nerves etc. This is also likely because she is not quiet or depressive which many dogs with hydrocephalus apparently are.

    He thinks whatever she has is probably still progressive so she may get other symptoms to go with the blindness. So far though she is such a wonderful bright and happy puppy so we are just trying to look on the bright side and adjust to having a blind dog.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice